A festive campaign has been launched to inspire shoppers to support local businesses this Christmas.
Running from today until the end of December, North East Now is aiming to shine a light on the different ways shoppers can do their bit and help sustain regional firms.
Launched in June, North East Now has allowed people to find out more about local firms operating throughout the pandemic, pulling together lots of great information, directories and blogs into one central place.
The festive campaign will run until the end of December. A business that features on the website is the award-winning Saplinbrae Hotel and Lodges, in Mintlaw.
The venue dates back to 1756 and the outbreak of Covid-19 was something that dining and operations manager Claire Forbes could never have anticipated.
She said: “It felt almost unreal when the hotel was forced to close its doors, which turned into worry and sadness that we may not reopen.
“Looking back we naively thought it would be short term then realised we really had to worry about the long term.
“So we adapted room layouts and menus to optimise bookings in restricted opening hours, added sanitising, kept up to date with regulations, signed up to Eat Out to Help Out and supported staff by keeping them up to date as well.
“These changes have proved successful as we continue to provide customers with the service they have come to expect.
After working hard to build up a business and putting your heart and soul into it I found the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my career was to tell staff that we had to close our doors.”
Carol Fowler of Banchory Lodge
Claire revealed that there will be a line-up of offers available for guests over the Christmas period.
While the way the family-run hotel operates has been adapted, the team remains positive. The same can be said for Carol Fowler, director of Banchory Lodge Hotel.
“After working hard to build up a business and putting your heart and soul into it I found the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my career was to tell staff that we had to close our doors,” she said.
“However, I was really proud of the team who were fantastic and just got on with the task in hand at the time.”
“I closed the doors and felt totally overcome. That day I was already working on how we were going to plan the re-opening.
“I’m always a glass half full kind of person.”
Banchory Lodge is a Georgian country house hotel with 28 bedrooms and serves trendy, award-winning food. Set on the banks of the River Dee in the heart of Banchory, it was built in the early 1800s by General William Burnett and first opened as a hotel in 1939.
Carol added: “We have hand sanitiser stations; are using a very efficient Track and Trace system; there are socially distanced tables; no standing or sitting at the bar; temperature checks; fogging public areas and rooms; the wearing of masks; paper napkins – the list of our new coronavirus procedures is endless.
“We always enjoy dressing the hotel up in December, making it cosy and festive, so we will be pulling out all the stops this year.
“The only way you can enjoy time with friends from two different households is to come somewhere like The Lodge and perhaps treat yourself to a stayover.”
Supporting local is something that Ardennan House Hotel owner and manager, Jennifer McIntosh, is urging the public to do.
Situated in Inverurie, the venue has implemented a takeaway service over recent months, which hotel owner and manager Jennifer says has “benefitted them greatly”.
She added: “The public really seem to be enjoying the takeaways and we will continue to offer them even once life is back to ‘normal’.”
Businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy
On the new campaign, Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy and essential to the prosperity of the Aberdeen city region community.
“Organisations of all kinds look forward to Christmas as a crucial time for income generation. While this year may be different to most, there’s lots of creative ways to enjoy the festive period while supporting our local people, businesses and economy.
To find out more information people can visit northeastnow.scot
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